Newbie + MES + Pork Ribs = Questions...!!

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by duckdiggler, Apr 20, 2008.

  1. Howdy all. New guy here with a few questions....

    I have a Master Built electric smoker and have done a few racks of Spare ribs...using the 3-2-1 method...with good results. Good not great. I have a few questions....

    Do you dry rub or brine? Suggestions?

    Water you use water in your pan? Or another liquid? If so how much?

    What do you like for wood? I have used hickory and apple...liked both.

    Do you mop or spritz? If so what do you use?

    I normally set the MES at 245 degrees....what do you set your MES at?

    I appreciate any and all tips.

    Thank you in advance! DD[​IMG]
  2. pigcicles

    pigcicles Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I don't have an MES but the basic guides are still the same

    1. I always use a rub because I don't want my ribs to be hammy tasting

    2. Personally I just use water. You will get tons of answers on this topic alone. Some use sand, others use other liquids.

    3. I like to use cherry or a combination with other woods.

    4. I spritz - it keeps from pulling the rub off with a brush

    5. I try to run my smoker from 225º - 250º. You are there on temps.

    Hope that helps you out some.
  3. bassman

    bassman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to the forum! Looks like you already got your answers, so I'll leave that one alone.
  4. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I like using a rub majority of the time.

    I use water in the pan and fill it near the top. I feel it helps stabalize the temperature inside the smoker. Ussually it evaporates away by the end of the smoke.

    Hickory and apple are my favorites also, but there are so many I haven't tried yet also.

    I am a spritzer, always apple juice and sometimes a 50/50 mix of apple juice and spiced rum.

    As PigCicles said, 225º to 250º is a good range. Put a probe thermometer through a potato and set it on one of your racks to make sure your MES's digital gauge is accurate or at least close.
  5. bwsmith_2000

    bwsmith_2000 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I agree with Pig right down the line. However, my choice of wood is usually hickory. Growing up in the south, that's what we always used so I'm probably a little prejudiced. But in the past few years, I've been getting more into cherry, apple, peach, pear, mesquite and a few others. Fun to experiment.
  6. bb53chevpro

    bb53chevpro Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I rub, rest for the night
    smoke at 225-250
    spritz every 1.5 hours with apple juice
    water in the water pan
    use cherry and hickory.
    But that is just me.
  7. crash

    crash Newbie

    Hey DD

    What exactly was not great about the ribs? It would help if we had more info.
  8. davidmcg

    davidmcg Meat Mopper

    Well lets see, you already got the tip to use a potato to check your temp. But as was stated you didn't mention what made the ribs good and not great. My suggestion, and it is only mine mind you. Lower the temp to 225 or as close as possible to it. I know 20 degrees doesn't sound like much. But a lower slower temp will increase the breakdown in tissues and fats in those ribs so they will be juicier and more tender. Also, I don't have an electric, I use charcoal, apple, cherry and mesquite on my ribs. Dry rub overnight. I make sure my temp is stable for a good hour before the meat goes in. Also, be sure to wrap those ribs in a towel and set them in a cooler at the end of the 3-2-1 to finish them off. That finishing off time makes a lot of difference. But post us some pics and let us all help you to the pleasure you deserve with the ribs.
  9. Good stuff guys! Thank you!

    How do you guys set your damper??

    It seems that my ribs are very wet when I use the damper 1/2 open....and water in the pan. Should I go all the way open? Or use sand in the pan instead of water?

    The ribs I finished yesterday were tender....almost too tender....bones were falling out of them after the 3 stage....then after the 2 stage....more bones were falling out. I am thinking I may need to lessen the 3 hour time....or as suggested set my target temp to 225 F.

    I guess I would like to have tender ribs but be able to eat them off of the bone.[​IMG]

    Do you guys have any good rub recipes? I like spicy but sweet.

    Thanks again fellas....I am gonna do a picnic roast this weekend. DD
  10. geob

    geob Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I use a MES and do a lot of ribs. Like everyone said, water in pan, 225 temp, use a dry rub, spray with apple juice and jack daniels, I use oak and apple most of the time because I get it free.

    Check you temp. The digital setting will be about 25 deg higher than the box.

    Welcome and keep smoking. Check out the 5 Day Course, its free.

  11. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Have the damper all the way open whenever you smoke; just want to add the smoke taste, not make the food be trapped in it, also this will help the smoker breath for ventilation.

    With the ribs you may want ot adjust temp and/or time to suit your preference.

    As far as rubs go, I would try Jeff's rub, it is a very good rub that can be also adjusted to suit your tastes; and with his generous recipe offer he also includes a great BBQ sauce. I am not selling, his recipe's are well worth the cost (This supports the website so we can share with eachother).
  12. homebrew & bbq

    homebrew & bbq Smoking Fanatic

    MossyMO has given you some good advice. If you only have the damper partially open the "good not great" taste may come from a bit of creosote sticking to the meat.

    If the bones are falling out after only 3 hours I would check the temps to make sure they are accurate. With spare ribs 3 hours in at 225° or 250° shouldn't have them that tender, at least it's never happened for me.

    When I do ribs I put the rub on about an hour before they go in the smoker. I used to do it the night before but I can't tell much of a difference. I spritz with a mix of apple juice and Cap't Morgan. Then during the last unfoiled hour I mop with some Cookies barbecue sauce thinned down with apple juice.
  13. Great advice fellas!

    Any suggestions for THE thermometer to have. I only like buying things once! LOL[​IMG]

    Thanks guys! DD[​IMG]

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